Suez Canal, Cairo, Sphinx - Day 30

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October 13th 2007
Published: October 16th 2007
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We drove to Suez and through the tunnel under the canal and into Africa! We wanted to get to the edge of the canal to watch the ships passing through but it is incredibly well guarded by the army. However, at the army post there was a young soldier who spoke good English - he went and spoke to his senior officer and eventually (as long as we did not take any photos) we were led through and down to the water’s edge. We were told that there had been a big battle there between the Egyptians and the Israelis during the 6 Days War and lots of soldiers had died.

We continued on to Cairo. We thought if we just tried to head west through the city we might eventually reach the Nile but after an hour and feeling utterly lost, we hailed a taxi and asked the driver to lead us to the area where we wanted to stay. We found a hotel and for the remainder of our stay in Cairo used taxis! Fortunately, this weekend is Eid al Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, so there is not much traffic.

On Sunday we visited the Egyptian Museum to see all the treasures, especially the Tutankhamun Galleries. Absolutely stunning. The museum is crammed with wonderful things; my favourite is a mummified falcon which is most exquisitely wrapped. In the evening we hired a felucca and had a sail at sunset on the Nile which was a very relaxing way to while away an hour. On Monday we visited the Pyramids at Saqqara and at Giza and saw the Sphinx which is more beautiful than I expected despite its lack of a nose.

Cairo is a huge, sprawling, crumbling but lovely city. Driving in it is a nightmare and I have huge admiration for the taxi drivers who whiz about the city at top speed mostly missing the rest of the traffic. We did get rammed up the back today as we slowed for yet another speed hump (have the people of Leafield twinned with Cairo?) but not too much damage was done.


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